Patient groups warn: Administration policy encourages discrimination in health care

Washington, D.C. - Today 29 patient and consumer groups representing millions of people nationwide with pre-existing health conditions issued the following statement in response to administration’s final rule. The rule, finalized Friday, attempts to undermine Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act by removing explicit protections against discrimination of patients by providers and institutions:

“By finalizing these changes, the Administration tries to unwind significant advances that have ensured vulnerable populations, including individuals with pre-existing conditions, are free from discrimination and able to access healthcare. The elimination of these important protections will result in severe consequences for the health and well-being of Americans seeking health care, especially those with serious, acute, chronic or other pre-existing conditions and those in vulnerable and under-served communities.

Many Americans and their dependents will now be less likely to access preventive, diagnostic, and critical health care, or to enforce their rights to obtain such care. This is especially detrimental to the health and well-being of those living with pre-existing conditions, as well as women, LGBTQI+ individuals, people with disabilities, and those with limited English proficiency.

These communities have long faced discrimination, bias, stigma, substandard care, and the denial of care. We are disturbed that the Administration is trying to undermine the equitable application and enforcement of the law—and making it more likely that providers and institutions will discriminate against millions of Americans in need of health care.

Particularly as the world confronts a global pandemic, these actions have no place within our system of care and put the public’s health at risk. Those that fear discrimination will be less likely to seek care and treatment for COVID-19. This puts the entire population at risk and undermines federal, state, and local efforts to control the virus. As a result, we express our continued opposition and deep concern over the changes finalized by the administration and urge immediate action to prevent this regulation from taking full effect.”

Alpha-1 Foundation

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

American Kidney Fund

American Lung Association

Cancer Support Community

Cancercare

Chronic Disease Coalition

COPD Foundation

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation

Epilepsy Foundation

Family Voices

Hemophilia Federation of America

Immune Deficiency Foundation

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Mended Hearts & Mended Little Hearts

Muscular Dystrophy Association

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Health Council

National Hemophilia Foundation

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

National Organization for Rare Disorders

National Patient Advocate Foundation

National Psoriasis Foundation

Pulmonary Hypertension Association

Susan G. Komen

The AIDS Institute

The American Liver Foundation

United Way Worldwide

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer-fueled organization dedicated to finding the cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improving the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. It was founded in 1967 by Irwin M. and Suzanne Rosenthal, William D. and Shelby Modell, and Henry D. Janowitz, M.D.